Monthly Archives: December 2007

Christmas is Coming! 10% Discount On All Frogames Art (Expires 25th Day)

Frogames has offered a 10% discount for all their product. The coupon code is GameProducerCoupon. The coupon expires 25th day, so you have 10 days time to purchase some fine art.

I have bought some Frogames art earlier for my Highpiled game, and Christophe (guy doing the art) was really generous for making some minor fixes when I asked. I also noticed that one of his content packs was using wrong animation number and he fixed that promptly. Very professional & reliable guy.

Frogames has plenty of cartoony art packs. See the examples below:

In the past, I got the big Warriors & Commoners pack in my hand and the variety of different possibilities is amazing. There’s more than 2000 files (characters, textures, scripts – you name it) and plenty of animations to use. If you happen to be doing any kind of RPG game – you simply gotta get this pack. It has everything you need: beards, weapons, animations, hats – and the price is unbeatable.

Enough talk, and now some action. Proceed to Frogames.net and use the coupon GameProducerCoupon to get 10% disount on all purchases.

Thanks Christophe for this Christmas gift!

More Christmas Presents – Win The Witcher for PC and More!

Merry Game Blogs Giveaway!

Writers Cabal Blog will be giving away The Witcher to one lucky commenter before 19th December.

Wadjet Eye Games Blog will be giving away downloads of BLACKWELL LEGACY and BLACKWELL UNBOUND! They have promised to give more information at the Wadjet Eye Games Blog, but I didn’t find it yet.

Nevertheless, it’s pretty easy to get yourself presents. Just vote for a name or make blog comments and you might win.

Vote For The Zombie Game Name – You Might Win a Copy of It!

The zombie game name contest is approaching the final stage and now is the time to vote for the game name. I have picked five game name candidates from the earlier suggestions. The game name will be one of the following:

* Dead Ends
* Stay Dead
* Dead Wake
* Dead Hollows
* Lies Dead

If you want to have a chance to get a copy of the game (when it’s finished), all you need to do is to vote the game name here and then explain the reason behind your vote. Tell us why you gave your vote to whatever name you voted. Those who give the best arguments/reasons will get a copy of the zombie game (up to maximum of 3 free copies – arguments are judged by me).

The reason you tell can be for example:
- Include feelings the voted name creates in you
- You are free to mention why it fits for the game theme/idea based on the game demo or the screenshots you’ve seen about the game
- The reason can be funny
- It can be serious
- It can be philosophic
- Or pretty much anything (whatever it is that made you choose)

You don’t have to vote the name that “seems to be getting the most votes”. I’m judging the best arguments/comments when giving the prizes. Even if the game name you vote is not chosen, you might win a copy of the game.

The contest ends when the name is picked… so you have some at least some days to act.

Feel free to try the demo release (shows a couple of minutes of gameplay) for inspiration. It’s very early version (and very dark – I know), but it might give you some idea.

Ready to vote? Proceed here to give your vote and participate in the contest (you might need to register to the forums unless you already have done that).

Fairway Solitaire Hits the Top Charts With This Simple Strategy

My friend Jake informed me about his latest game: Fairway Solitaire. I tested the game for 3 minutes, and that was enough for me.

3 minutes was enough because the game was so freaking addictive that I had to stop there – or I would have played the whole day. Jake was contracted by Big Fish Games to make a downloadable version of their most popular online community game of 2006. He worked very closely with a Big Fish Games game designer and an American artist for 8.5 months.

A “solitaire” game might not sound very fun, but I assure that if you check out the game – you’ll see how polished it is. The game was #6 most popular game 10 hours ago, and at the time of writing it climbed number #5.

As a game developer I cannot but congratulate BFG & Jake. Getting to top 10 in a such short period is a great achievement for a casual game. Big Fish Games found a great business opportunity by taking a concept that’s proven successful (their most popular free game) and for Jake (and rest of the team) for polishing the game to make it hit the top charts.

That’s a strategy that any game company can model.

Check out Fairway Solitaire.

Can You Create Better Game Than For Example Halo 3 or Half-life 2?

Some feedback I received got me thinking about the meaning of “better game”. Is it possible to for indies to create better games than big budget games like Halo 3 or Half-life 2.

I’m 100% sure that the answer is solid yes.

Why?

Here’s the thing: better is subjective. If you ask random hard core player if they prefer playing Half-life 2 to playing Diner Dash, I’m pretty sure that the answer is Half-life 2. For them, Half-life 2 is better game than Diner Dash. But, if you take average house mom and ask if Half-life 2 is better than Diner Dash – you’ll hear them saying no. They will tell you that they think Diner Dash is better game than Half-life 2. They’ll tell you that it’s much more fun.

And that’s the main idea of creating a “better game” than Halo 3. You don’t try to beat Halo 3 in its own weapons – instead, you come up with something unique. Maybe it’s dancing cows or singing pens that will make your game different, but there gotta be something. Maybe those dancing cows make some people like your game better than Halo 3. And that’s where you want to be.

One game cannot do everything. One game cannot provide everything to everybody. Developers must pick key strengths for their games, and make games for certain (large enough) niches – and make the best game for that audience. When that happens, you’ve created better game than Half-life 2 for some people.

What Time Management Software Are You Using?

I talked about time management software with my friend Jake today. While Excel seems to be favorite tool for many producer, we pondered what other time management system people are using.

My current tool is pen & paper for my game project. I got rid of computer based todos and simply make small paper notes for tasks that needs to get done. There are some pros in this approach (since I tend to do certain number of tasks per week) I have a visual clue about how much time is required, and I always see how much is accomplished already (I have a big pile of paper notes marked finished).

On the con side, managing tasks and making more detailed calculation is not as easy compared to Excel.

Enough of me – what software are you using for time management?

Zombie Game Pre-Release 1 – Downloadable Demo Available Now (3 Mins of Gameplay)

Please continue to DeadWakeGame.com to see the latest information.

To make a long story short: Download Release 1 Demo (16 megs). The demo release 1 gives you couple minutes of gameplay, and some clue about what there’s going to be in the game. If for some reason the game doesn’t work in your computer, please check out the system requirements and necessary software (You’ll need .NET2 and DirectX9 to run the demo).

This is the December release, and the release 2 is scheduled for January 2008.

I would be eternally grateful if you’d test the software and give me feedback about the game. Any feedback is appreciated: good and bad. If you have suggestions or ideas, feel free to mention them.

While you are downloading the first release…
Check out the main controls:

ASDW = movement
Mouse = aim
Left mouse button = shoot
ESC = open menu (and restart the game, you’ll need this if you happen to die in the demo…)

What can you expect from the release 1 – and what’s coming in the future
I would like to point out, that this is very early version and it contains only some features. Here are some things that will change or will be added in the future releases. (Notice: not necessarily in the next release).

  • Zombie Models: These are 100% placeholders. Our artist – James O’Hare – has modeled a great looking zombie 3d character which you’ll get to see in the future releases. The current zombies are less “realistic” than the zombie model you’ll see in the next releases.
  • Levels: the demo contains only a very small area with couple of buildings. In the future releases you’ll get to play in a real level. (And you cannot jump off the cliff…)
  • Sounds: There are some sounds that will be used in the future releases, but there’s also placeholder sounds (like weapon and box collisions to name just a few).
  • More breakable stuff: The crates currently just vanish in the air. They will be much nicer & more realistic in the future.
  • More weapons: This release contains only one weapon, and what would a zombie game be without more weapons. I have some “typical” ones planned (anybody who has watched any zombie film knows that there must be a shotgun somewhere), but also something quite unique in my pocket.
  • More gameplay elements: I don’t want to reveal too much about this, but currently you can move (and break) crates in the game, and in the future “you will be able to do more than that”. This part will have major role in the gameplay.
  • Easier installation & better compatibility: Vista users will get easier installation. Integrated video card owners will be better supported in the future.

There are other things planned, but I think it’s better not to talk & promise too much at this point. I’ll focus on getting feedback and let the releases do the talking. I’m going to make one release every month, so you’ll see more after one month. But for now, feel free to test the demo and give some feedback if you want.

Also, if you wish to suggest a name for the game (and win a copy of it), feel free to do so. As soon as the name is figured out, I’ll move the releases & game information to the zombie game site.

Remember to subscribe to the mailing list to get informed about the project progress & lessons from the making of the game.

Zombie Game System Requirements

To run the upcoming zombie game you need to have Windows (should run well on most versions) and a 3D video card. Windows Vista Users need to give read/write access to the game, as it produces some log files (install the game to Desktop or “C:\Program Data” should do fine).

.NET2 and DirectX9
To make the game run you need to ensure that you have installed .NET 2.0 and DirectX 9c.

I promise that in the future releases, this downloading will be made more convenient and at some point I’ll include these files all in one package so you get to play the game with just the one package.

Graphics card drivers
If for some reason, the demo doesn’t run properly, please ensure that you have the latest drivers for your graphics card.

Game gives fatal exception in Windows Vista
Try either giving permissions to the game (it requires to give permissions to files like “logs\Game.log” and “data\Data.qrc”) or try installing the game to “c:\Program Data\” (or on your Desktop).

If the game still doesn’t work
If you’ve ensured that you have DirectX9, then you may try changing render system to OpenGL (it’s located in the game folder’s Configurator.exe “Render System”).

If the game runs slow…
Then use the options (Press ESC + select “options”) and change detail level for shadows (LOW or NONE for example). You can also use the configurator (You need to exit the game and run the “Configurator.exe” from the game folder) to change the level of antialias. Feel free to try other options and configurations.

Corrupt file or some unexpected error while downloading/installing the setup file
Please try re-downloading the setup file and installing again.

How Would You Like to Make Games and Get $1,000,000 Funding?

Acclaim Games (and David Perry) are running great contests at videogameteam.com. They’ve created an extra competition, open to any new or seasoned developers in the world, to see who can make the best “real” PC multiplayer game based on the community design.

To assure that this game gets published, Acclaim will cover the winner’s normal licensing costs for ANY commercially available game engine in the world (they said that Unreal and Crytek are fine), including professional middleware (physics, video players etc.)

Acclaim will pay up to $1,000,000 (US) of these license fees for the winner. They will also provide all servers and support to run the game commercially.

More information (although they sure had done good job hiding it in my opinion :) can be found at videogameteam.com.

From Modding To Game Making – Iceflake Studios

I was discussing with Mikko Aliranta, CEO of Iceflake Studios, about game production. Iceflake studios has an interesting history. In the past they were creating a Finnwars mod for Battlefield 1942.

Time has passed, and now they’ve set up their own company and proceed to develop Finnwars 2 – this time with their own Mammoth game engine.

Game won’t be published in the nearly future, but I wish success to the whole team. They are a fine example how modders can take the leap to forming a company & making their own games.